Minutes 18th May 2022

Minutes of the Annual Parish and Annual Statutory Council Meetings of Clehonger Parish Council held on 18th May 2022 from 7.30 pm at the Clehonger Village Hall

NB- The minutes are “draft” until ratified at the following parish council meeting.

Present: Cllrs A Davies, J Jones, C Protherough (Chair), W Watkins, J Whittal (Vice Chair) and K Langdon

In attendance: Mrs A Wright (Clerk), Ward Cllr David Hitchiner (from 7.56 pm), Paul Wright (Lengthsman), PCSO Pete Knight and three members of the public.
Part One Annual Parish Meeting
1. Annual Parish Meeting with parishioners who have joined the meeting (to include any update from West Mercia Police – if in attendance)
PCSO Pete Knight gave an update regarding local crime. One incident of car windows being smashed in Elm Grove was noted. The police had been carrying out speed watch in the village and would be maintaining this. Not may people had actually been caught speeding, as the law requires those monitoring speed to be visible. No tickets had to be issued during the recent visit. PCSO Knight also said he would chase up the speed monitoring (box mounted) for the village roads with West Mercia Traffic Safety Advisor.
A tarmac gang had been active in Michaelchurch Escley and had caught a local person with a hugely disproportionate bill. Fortunately the householder was able to cancel the payment before the gang got hold of the money. The gang had broken “every rule” in the trading standards book. Caution was advised as the gangs will target “elderly people” and will potentially drive around looking for opportunities.
PCSO Knight again explained about the neighbourhood messaging system, giving access to alerts and useful information. Contact PCSO Knight to sign up to the messaging service on e mail – peter.knight@westmercia.police.uk
Part Two Annual Meeting of the Parish Council
1. Co-option of councillor
No candidates were presented for co-option.

2. Election of Chair with signing of acceptance and declaration forms
Cllr Protherough was re-elected as Chair (nominated by K Langdon and seconded by A Davies). The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and gave the following report:
“Parish Chair Report
I would like to begin by thanking parish councillors for all their work over the past year. It is not always an easy path to tread, and all the more so over a period when Covid has caused so much stress and constraint on what is possible, and on opportunities to relate in a relaxed manner. Most of us will have experienced stress and loss over the last couple of years. Added to this our public are not necessarily well informed about what we can, and cannot do, and express themselves forcibly. It this context it is perhaps not surprising that recruiting new councillors for vacancies has proved difficult .Fortunately we have been able to welcome Cllr Nick Rider to our number but continue , as over the past twelve months, to run with a vacancy for a new councillor, and would welcome applications to fill this role .
On a positive note we have been able to improve provision on the playing field with a new piece of equipment, a Cocowave which seems much appreciated, and the recent installation of two new benches .We will also shortly be pacing an attractive Parish map near the public footpath across the playing field. Unfortunately concerns about the behaviour of young people and vandalism continue to be a great concern and it is most important that we take this seriously in the coming year . Not least because as a result of sec 106 money, there is the potential for expenditure to improve youth and leisure provision.It is vital that we obtain views from the public and concentrate on suggestions for constructive projects to secure this.
The playing field continues to be a valuable resource for our population which includes its potential for holding larger events .This included the Christmas tree celebration , attended by a significant number of families , a bright spark in the midst of Covid gloom . In a couple of weeks there will be a Jubilee event and it is a pleasure to say that the primary school is taking the lead on this.
Litter in the area continues to be a problem, though addressed quietly by a number of people acting voluntarily. We mourn the loss of the Parish Freighter service, which provided an excellent resource for removing bulky rubbish and quite an entertaining morning out for villagers. In spite of Covid preventing collection from dog poo bins for a few weeks, this has continued to be a good service for the village, an unpleasant job, for which we owe great thanks to Paul Wright and Alison Wright.
Routine concerns for the council have continued, including cooperating with the police over community anger about speeding, and a tour with Balfour Beatty and the police to identify points of concern on our local roads. The cooperation from both services has been very helpful, though magic solutions are hard to find.
We continue to comment conscientiously on planning applications … which have not been of the complexity of recent years …and have had little difficulty in reaching a consensus on these which have been largely uncontroversial. We are, as a village, experiencing much change as the result of the recently constructed Persimmon estate and the further 90 houses on the Madley road.

Our tree warden and footpath officer have continued to be well involved in their tasks. Sadly we have lost several significant mature trees over the past year. New developments bring new plantings sometimes, but replacing centuries old mature trees takes centuries, not years, and we all know how important trees are ecologically, aesthetically ,and for the benefit of the climate. Our footpaths on the whole continued to be an attractive, accessible and much needed resource in a time when going for a daily walk helped to maintain physical and emotional fitness in a time of adversity
On a less cheerful note, the Parish Council meetings have not always run smoothly this year, and to be honest have been acrimonious and unpleasant at times. Inevitably, there will be political and personal differences amongst any group of people. However in the coming year we have challenging issues ahead , not least of which will be integrating a further 90 households into the village, and ensuring we make sensible use of the Section 106 money . We simply have to cooperate to achieve this, and to foster a sense of community with potential initiatives, such as a community task force. I thank you all and hope we can move forward positively together in the coming year.”
3. Election of Vice Chair
Cllr Whittal was elected as Vice Chair (nominated by W Watkins and seconded by A Davies).

4. Election of Parish Council Officers (Tree Warden, Footpath Officer, Playing Field Representative and HALC Representative)
Blue Davies was proposed as Footpath Officer. Alan Morgan was proposed as Tree Warden. The Clerk would contact them both to see if they were willing to continue in the two roles. Cllr Watkins was appointed as Playing Field Representative (nominated by J Whittal and seconded by K Langdon) Cllr Whittal was appointed as HALC Representative (nominated by J Jones and seconded by K Langdon).

5. To receive Apologies for Absence
There were apologies for absence received from Cllrs N Rider and S Savory.

6. To note Declarations of Interest
There were declarations of interest made. These were for Cllrs Watkins and Jones in relation to the village hall and Cllr Whittal in relation to the church.

7. To approve Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on 20/04/22
It was resolved that the Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held on 20th April 2022, were approved by the Council.
8. Finance and Policies
(8.1) Resolved: The following list of payments were approved:
Clerk paid in accordance with contract (May)
Expenses £47.86
Longfield Services (Lengthsman/Bins/bench etc.) £333.10
Clehonger Village Hall (Hall hire) £10.50
BHIB Ltd. (Parish Council Insurance) £1319.68
Eyelid Productions Ltd. (web services) £30.00
Caloo Ltd. (shelter panels) £2251.20

Resolved: The bank balance was noted at £42315.47
(8.2) To sign and approve the Annual Governance Statement 2021 – 2022
The Annual Governance Statement 2021 – 2022 was approved by the council and signed by the chair

(8.3) To sign and approve the Accounting Statement 2021 – 2022
The Accounting Statement 2021 – 2022 was approved by the council and signed by the chair

(8.4) To appoint members to Finance Working Party
It was resolved that all members of the parish council would comprise the Finance Working Party.
9.0 Playing Field
(9.1) To clarify the position regarding “Playing Field Funds” (independent group)
The funds were held by an independently constituted group of residents (some of whom were, or had become, councillors). The group was not part of, or accountable to the parish council, and the funds were independently managed by the group’s treasurer.

(9.2) Update on activities including the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, events and equipment as applicable
Activities for the Jubilee Picnic in the Park on 5th June would include bouncy castles. The Clerk was asked to check the insurance policy and notify the insurer of the parish council in terms of date, time and activities. Cllr Davies would check with the school regarding the booked activities and insurance cover.
10. Planning.
To consider response to Planning Applications, as notified, and then determined by Herefordshire Council
No new applications to be considered this time.
11. Church matters
To receive any update on matters relating to the Church
There had not been a recent PCC Meeting. A recital was planned for Saturday 16th July at the Clehonger Church as a fund raising activity.

12. Parish roads and footpaths, trees and land
12.1) To note any defects to be reported to Balfour Beatty
The grass island near to Silverdale was very overgrown and required cutting.
The lay-by near to Lilac Cottage had not been altered. This matter would be chased up with the Locality Steward and the Road Traffic Safety Advisor, who had previously looked at the situation.

12.2) To consider any issues in relation to footpaths
No update this time. It was commented that the footpath gate on the Persimmon Estate was sometimes left open and was not self closing. The parish council did not have jurisdiction over the footpath so this would need to be reported to the Public Rights of Way Team. The wooden kissing gate near to the Old Pond in Clehonger also required repairs.

12.3) To put forward work for the Lengthsman
• To reinstall the dog waste bin in Gosmore Road.
• To clear the overgrowth of weeds etc. encroaching on the highway near the triangle of grass at the top of Church Road, Ruckhall end.
• To fit the shelter panels when obtained.
• Remove dumped easy chair from playing field

10.4) To receive any update regarding trees
No update from the tree warden this time. Trees had been damaged (snapped off) in the Persimmon Estate (private estate) and the Platinum Jubilee commemorative tree, planted on the playing field, was in need of watering and attention (cage to be fitted).
It was agreed to consider possible new planting of trees for the field in the autumn of 2022 (July Agenda).

13. To consider any matters relating to speeding in the village
Covered under Agenda item 1, with the PCSO, and this was being followed up re monitoring etc. Try to get Traffic Safety Advisor to follow up meeting. Initial contact for Community Speedwatch = police team, can they be contacted by general public also?

14. Information and correspondence
(14.1) To note Information and Correspondence sheet
Talk Community Newsletters
Local Area Plan Consultation slide show
May road closures
New information on new reporting details for PROW (Public rights of Way and Traffic Regulation Orders:

Herefordshire Council contact information
PROW – E mail PROW@herefordshire.gov.uk
PROW – Tel. No. – 01432 383550
TRO – TM@herefordshire.gov.uk

(14.2) To receive any update from the Ward Councillor (also Leader’s Report)
The Ward Cllr advised that the Panorama program, aired via television, on Social Care issues at Herefordshire Council had “not been as bad as had been feared”.
There was a discussion about the alleged issues, in the social care sector of the council, and the discussion was terminated when a member became distressed.
The Ward Cllr updated regarding the ongoing battle with trying to reduce phosphates in the water courses.
The Herefordshire Council were engaged in trying to compensate for the “overspend” on the City Link Road.
The Ward Cllr agreed to find out whether the free bus travel, as had been recently provided, would be continuing or not.

(14.3) To consider any responses to consultation items
These would be ongoing. Cllr Davies advised of a meeting to progress youth community involvement in conjunction with the Knife Angel Project.

(14.4) To consider circulation of questionnaire to (all) residents in regard to wishes for items in the village from 106 funding
The questionnaire would be put together and arrangements for circulation agreed. The idea would be to find out what residents would like to see provided and the use of the playing field funding may need to be agreed as being spent in another area – if not to be fully utilised for the field? Questions would need to be asked as to what could actually be done on the field as there may be restrictions in terms of hard standing, surfacing, potential building and also trusteeship responsibilities etc.
The Hall Committee representative asked for a note to be made about the hall driveway access bar arrangement. The driveway was not a permanent right of way but was the subject of an informal arrangement for access. The lockable bar was used to secure the driveway, from access by vehicles, when closed.
The meeting was advised that a councillor had been told that the road and drainage works on the B4349, near the new estate, were to be carried out (date of works had not been advised as yet).

15. Matters to be raised on the Agenda of the next Meeting
All usual matters, 106 monies and survey, plus co-option of councillor. It was agreed that the Hall would invoice the parish council for a two hour period, for each parish council meeting, as a minimum charge.

16. Reminder of dates of future meetings
The next Meeting of the Parish Council would be held on Wednesday 15th June 2022, from 7.30pm, at the Clehonger Village Hall.

The Meeting closed at 9.15 PM.